Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 National Monuments at Risk From the Trump Administration

A few weeks back, the Trump administration sent an executive order to the U.S. Department of the Interior instructing Secretary Ryan Zinke to review dozens of sites that were designated as national monuments over the past 25 years under the Antiquities Act. That order is expected to be carried out in three months, with some outstanding outdoor environments now at risk of losing their protected status, and potentially opening them up for commercial or even industrial development.

Recently, Men's Journal covered this story and compiled a list of the top five national monuments that are now on the chopping block. This list is filled with some very popular outdoor playgrounds that have received protected status under the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. But now, thanks to other outside interests, they could be in danger.

So which sites earned a spot on the list? For once, I'm going to go ahead and spoil all five of them, as I think this is a topic worth spreading the word on and getting more people involved in speaking out against the move. So, without further adieu, the top five most threatened monuments are is as follow:

  • Grand Staircase-Escalante (Utah)
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters (Maine)
  • Northeast Canyons and Seamounts (Massachusetts)
  • Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks (New Mexico)
  • Bears Ears (Utah)
The MJ article gives readers a sense of why each of these places was designated as a national monument to begin with and what makes it a target for losing that status now. For instance, the Bears Ears has been at the heart of this controversy for months, first because it was protected by the Obama administration in the waning days of its tenure, and because oil and gas interests have been lobbying for access to the area for years. In other words, there are natural resources under the site, and commercial interests are paying a lot of money to try to rescind the protections placed on the monument. 

Have strong feelings about these places? Be sure to express your opinions by going to this website and entering "DOI-2017-0002" into the search bar. From there, you'll be able to not only find out more about this issue, but share your views as well. As of this writing, there have been nearly 75,000 comments to date. 

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